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Letter: Review requirement the right move

The haywire mess concerning WestUrban’s Magdalena building did not thankfully land at taxpayers’ feet

Review requirement the right move

Dear Mayor Rob Douglas and council:

I heartily cheers our council’s cogently welcome decision requiring third-party structural reviews for all multi-story buildings being built in North Cowichan (Cowichan Valley Citizen, Dec. 15, 2022).

The haywire mess concerning WestUrban’s Magdalena building did not thankfully land at taxpayers’ feet.

Your decision helps ensure future projects will not involve costly litigation concerning our municipality that’s embracing smart growth under our new Official Community Plan.

Furthermore, municipal engineering oversight — sadly necessary to watchdog developers and engineers — will hopefully prevent future ‘renovictions’ of folks due to dangerous, substandard work needing remediation.

How such shamefully shoddy work, and alleged lousy amenities, in the Magdalena — spanning reportedly broken appliances, leaking pipes and concrete deficiencies — surfaced is appalling in a relatively simple housing project.

While lawyers and insurance firms fumble with the fallout of litigation and fixes, Magdalena’s residents must find alternate housing in our scarce rental market — a market sadly ignored for decades by council.

That’s why council’s recent decision is logical as we struggle to finally boost affordable housing stocks for low-income and working folks.

It would behoove Duncan council to consider a similar, proactive engineering-oversight policy to prevent a ‘Magdalena’ inside city limits.

Yours in affordably smart growth,

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

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